No Certainty In U.S. Recovery Predictions
While the reopening of U.S. businesses shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic is a significant step forward, it is too soon to say how quickly or smoothly America’s economy will recover, says Jack Kleinhenz, chief economist with the National Retail Federation (NRF). “Is it possible the worst of the coronavirus pandemic is behind us? Maybe, but we are not out of the woods yet, and uncertainty abounds,” he says. “Predicting what will happen is even more challenging than usual. While history often helps guide us, previous downturns offer little guidance on what is likely to unfold over the next six to 12 months.” Record drops in employment, gross domestic product, retail sales, and other indicators have resulted in “such unparalleled numbers that it is not comparable to anything in economic history and it has yet to catch up with the reality of what we are experiencing. With such sizeable disruptions, it is difficult to tally the damage or determine the future.” The remarks follow NRF’s ‘Monthly Economic Review,’ which says that the U.S. economy “changed course almost overnight” from the longest expansion on record to an “historic economic slump” because of the shutdowns ordered in an attempt to bring the virus under control.